DR ELLIE CANNON: Don't rely on cider vinegar to cure your lumps... or anything

After noticing a couple of smallish soft bumps under the skin on my arms and stomach, I consulted a doctor, who gave me an ultrasound scan. I was told they’re called lipoma and weren’t anything to worry about. 

I’ve also read that drinking a shot of cider vinegar every night can get rid of them. Is this true?

Look online and you’ll see cider vinegar (often called apple cider vinegar, which is the American term) recommended for everything from arthritis pain to weight loss.

There’s been a fair bit of research into it over the years, and none of these claims stands up.

Aside from tasting unpleasant, vinegar is acidic and can erode the teeth. Just because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean there aren’t downsides.

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Look online and you’ll see cider vinegar, often called apple cider vinegar, recommended for everything from arthritis pain to weight loss, writes Dr Ellie Cannon (file photo)

Look online and you’ll see cider vinegar, often called apple cider vinegar, recommended for everything from arthritis pain to weight loss, writes Dr Ellie Cannon (file photo)

A lipoma is a swelling of fat that you can normally see as a soft-feeling lump under the skin.

They are very common, harmless, and grow slowly – and can range in size, from not much bigger than a bean, to very large.

We don’t know why they happen. Some people seem to simply be prone to them, and may have a few lipomas on their body.

An ultrasound scan is reassuring, as this can confirm the lump is a lipoma and nothing sinister. It is always important to get any lumps checked by your GP, particularly if they are hard, painful or growing.

Surgical removal of a lipoma may be offered on the NHS in specific circumstances, for example if there is pain or it interferes with normal functions, but otherwise, they’re considered a cosmetic problem, and so this would not normally be an option. Private clinics offer lipoma removal.

I’ve never heard about cider vinegar getting rid of lipomas, and, unsurprisingly can’t find any scientific evidence that would support it.

My wife, who’s 75, stopped taking HRT earlier this year, and she’s since suffered terribly with excessive sweating. It’s worst at night, and she often has to change her bedclothes, sometimes twice in a night. She’s losing sleep. 

The GP seemed unconcerned, but I’m really worried. Is this normal?

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Hormone replacement therapy can be a lifeline for women suffering menopause symptoms. There is no specific duration of use or age cut-off for treatment, but it’s not usually taken forever.

There are risks from the treatment – for instance, a tiny increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer – but these are far outweighed by the immediate, often life-altering problems caused by menopause, such as depression, insomnia and loss of sexual function.

And this is why, at least in the short to medium term, HRT is worth considering, as it can see patients through the worst of it.

There are also alternatives to HRT that may be able to control the sweating, such as clonidine tablets. Alternatively, it is possible to be referred to a specialist menopause clinic (file photo)

There are also alternatives to HRT that may be able to control the sweating, such as clonidine tablets. Alternatively, it is possible to be referred to a specialist menopause clinic (file photo)

However, as women get older and fluctuating hormones level out naturally, it’s normally a good idea to try tapering the HRT dose, and eventually stopping.

Generally, HRT is taken for three to five years, but it can be longer. The reason the dose is reduced slowly is to try an avoid a sudden menopause-like hormonal crash. Excessive sweats would be considered an extreme reaction, and warrants further discussion with a GP.

Sweating may be caused by certain cancers such as lymphoma, or thyroid disease, and in the first instance blood tests should rule these out.

If it

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